RPS Jersey Rumble May 20th, 2017

I gave myself a few higher expectation this time.  Yeah, it was only my second meet, but after a year of practically training for power and nothing else I decided the time had come for me to at least somewhat challenge myself.  Hell, in the year since my last meet my Squat had finally hit the 300’s and my Deadlift was just 15lbs away from hitting 400.  My Bench Press?  I really don’t want to even go there.  But I knew going into this meet that my shoulders were absolutely fucked, a result of carrying around a leather shoulder bag by the handle because the strap was broken and having a bunch of weight pulling on my joints.  To make matters just a bit worse, I was at a park with my students the day before this meet and one of them asked me to play catch with him.  Of course I couldn’t just tell him no.  The problem?  Throwing a football requires a tad more force – or power! – than a regular ball, especially if you want to throw a spiral.  So yeah, my throwing arm was now even more fucked.  Just great.  This fuckin’ kid is so lucky I like him.

So I arrived at the Ramada Plaza Hotel just a tad more focused…and even more anxious than last time!  See, I had planned my opening lifts maybe just a week in advance, not because I was procrastinating, but because I wanted to feel comfortable knowing I was going to least pull those off – especially with the squat.  If there’s one very important psychological tool I learned from Jim Wendler, it’s that you want to be able to just bang out your Squat opener.  If you do that you’re confidence will sky rocket, if not, your confidence as a whole might just do a nice, big nose dive.

I weighed in at 179.8lbs, which was fine since this was my first meet in the 181lb weight class along with the Raw Modern division (knee sleeves or wraps), managing to hit 180lbs not even a handful of times in the last few months alone.  Since we were as early as we were I had plenty of time to take since pictures, but not many because almost as soon as I walked into the ballroom I almost immediately ran into PJ Santa Teresa, who was competing in the 198lbs weight class and the Raw Classic division.  He also won first place last year.  I ran into Eric Chase a few minutes later and the three of us just got lost in all things Powerlifting for while, with me even educating PJ on the Doug Young won the 1977 IPF World Championships with three broken ribs.  In fact he might be the topic of my next post!  So anyway, because I got stuck talking to PJ and Eric for a while I found myself not taking too many pictures.  But I sure noticed some sick new trophies!

This shit right here is exactly why I’d kill to win just one trophy from this fed.  So fucking metal.  Seriously.

So I made sure that this time around all my lifts were filmed and you can see them all right here!

But for the actual story, I already knew in advance that I’d be going for a 330lb squat PR for my final lift so long as my first two attempts were successful, which they were.  Once again, C4 was my buddy because was nice and warmed up, and real fuckin’ jumpy.  So after hitting my first two attempts of 280lbs and 305lbs I’m starring at the monolift with full concentration.  Trying to channel Doug Young; what you can’t hear in the video above is that I’m so into shit now that I’m growling as if I was Doug himself…only his growl was WAY more terrifying!  You know what…I think I AM going to write about Doug next.  Anyway, I’m feeling stuck at the half way point, all it took was me screaming “UUUUPPP!!!” at the top of my lungs and I had all three green lights.  Quick fun fact:  Both of my second squat attempts from this year’s Rumble and last year’s only had two green lights.

My Bench Press attempts were where it all started to go to shit, making me feel like all my energy must’ve gone into squatting.  As I said earlier…my shoulders were in shit shape, so my opener and second attempt, both green lighted, were a measly 150 and 160.  After the second attempt I was in so much pain that I lower my third attempt from 180 to 170, fearing an injury over just not getting the lift.  Here’s where I think I should’ve used a wider grip width because my grip alone was not an issue, having finally fixed that issue not too long ago.  But either way, as soon as the bar hit my chest it wasn’t going back up.

I had a lot of time to kill before Deadlifts so I spent it eating salty snacks and drinking gatorade, taking in as much sodium as I could, since sodium retains water as well as helps to restore electrolytes.  I also took my other bottle of C4, ensuring I’d have the energy I’d need if I though I was going to pull 420lbs.  I made sure I was focused, even if the preworkout alone wasn’t hitting me like it did for squats.  So I opened with 355 and my second attempt was 385.  After I hit that number I somehow felt confident enough to request 420 as my final lift.  This would’ve brought my total into the low 900’s.  After about ten minutes my flight (or group) was called up for our final attempts.  Eric told me he was just going for 400lbs, which appalled me a bit because I know he had more in him…although I now wish I did the same.  Eric hit his number beautifully, and I was a few lifters behind.

It’s now my turn, standing behind the bar, ammonia cap under my nose for extra stimulation, mid chest length hair down like I’m Dan Green or some shit.  I’m nervous and excited at the same time as I take a deep breath and manage to just rip the fuckin’ bar right off the ground.  But at the halfway point I got stuck and couldn’t lock out.  At all.  It was so bad I even dropped the bar, which you’re not supposed to do.  I’m now FURIOUS.  Slamming down my Inzer Forever Belt, all I wanted to do was throw shit everywhere.  After taking two minutes to kind of calm down I asked my girlfriend to show me the video.  And there it was – my hips went up way too early.  I was fucked from the beginning!  Was I that nervous that I wasn’t focusing on my body movements?  Most likely.  So now my total was going to be 875.

After my flight PJ went on to deadlift 550lbs for his second attempt and it was fucking FLAWLESS.

That look on his face at the end gets me every time.  He tried to go for 600lbs after this; he was just about to lock out when he BLACKED out instead, falling face first in front of the judge’s feet.  Rising blood pressure is a bitch.  He still managed to win 3rd place, by the way.

I plan on going back to the gym next Sunday and I’m going to start using Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 Boring But Big template, which is essential a Powerbuilding program.  I think it’s time for me to focus more on muscle mass for a bit, especially in regards to my chest and shoulders.  I’m also considering trying the Sumo Deadlift stance to reduce my range of motion and take some stress off my lower back and put it on my quads.

My stats for Jersey Rumble 2017:

Squat: 280, 305, 330 (PR) 3/3

Bench Press: 150, 160, failed with 170 2/3

Deadlift: 355, 385, failed with 420 2/3

Total: 875

Be sure to follow PJ and Eric on Instagram:

PJ Santa Teresa @pjironmind  Eric Chase @_echase

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                         Left to right: PJ Santa Teresa, Eric Chase, Angry Metalhead

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Darkthrone Or Metallica: Which Training Are You? By Jim Wendler

Here’s my first blog of the year.  Haven’t been free to write sooner.  So if you follow me on Instagran @confessionsofanangrymetalhead you’ll most likely also see the hashtag #jimwendlerisgod underneath most of my lifting related posts.  Well, he is; and here’s one of many reasons why!

Underneath this is the link to a blog piece I just discovered on his website which pretty much sums of his training philosophy along with that of most real lifters using two very extremely different musical styles.  So click down below, read, enjoy, and ask yourself this: Are you real?  Or are you just a phony?

https://jimwendler.com/blogs/jimwendler-com/101066310-darkthrone-or-metallica-which-training-are-you

Quick Powerlifting Update

REvPS

I recently signed up for my second powerlifting competition, The RPS Jersey Rumble, happening on Saturday, May 20th at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Newark, NJ.  Unlike last year, where I competed in the 198lb weight class I’ll be in the 181lb class this time, since I dropped down to 172lbs since last May.  I’m still undecided on all my lifts.  I’m pretty sure I’m going for a 400lbs Deadlift.  I’ll either go for a 300lbs squat or I’ll go a bit higher.  My Bench Press?  QDisgraceful.  I might keep that real low.

I hope to start recording my meet prep soon.  It’s been so hard because while my new gym is surprisingly really good there are nights were it’s just so fucking overcrowded with college kids.  Fuck, I had to foam roll by the outside locker area just two nights ago because the entire designated stretching area was crowded.  A stretching area!  Oh yeah, since I last wrote in here I had to leave Sports Club because they increased my monthly payments without warning me.  Unacceptable.  I’m now at Blink Fitness, which surprising has five Hammer Strength power racks and Olympic bars with knurling so deep and juicy, as one of my Instagram followers put it, that it WILL rip up your shins during deadlifts and WILL rip the skin off your hands if your grip isn’t there.  I just wish it wasn’t so crowded at night!

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Random Thoughts

Gym Rants

If it wasn’t for the fact that I want to become a personal trainer and wasn’t contracted to New York Sports Club I’d most likely try to find another gym.  I don’t hate my gym but I’d really like to train somewhere that’s more geared toward my goals because let’s face it, a commercial gym doesn’t cater to Powerlifters or anyone strength training related.  Hell, there’s only one power rack for squatting and just one deadlift platform – I do admit it’s a miracle they even have on.  But sometimes it’s being used just as you’re about to use it and sometimes it’s for some real stupid shit.

On the night I was to Deadlift 315 for the first time ever back in February I found someone was occupying the platform doing a stupid Crossfit routine.  What was it?  Ten sets of twenty Clean-And-Jerks followed by “jump rope”.  Noticed the word jump rope was quoted?  That’s because there was no jump rope; instead this guy was jumping up and down looking like he was jerking off two dicks!

My most recent favorite, which I ranted about on my facebook page, was the guy doing Front Squats with a fucking BOSU ball.  First off, if he’s going to be wearing the wrong shoes – by which I mean sneakers – he better hope I’m not there when he tips over because I’m going to laugh so hard.  Also, if you’re front squatting with a BOSU ball you should return your man card and go make that appointment for your sex change now.  Hell, yesterday.

I finally ordered a 10mm Inzer Forever Belt in black on Saturday.  I hope to get it before my next deadlift day.

New Nails (??????)

So Nails cancels all their shows over the summer without any explanation and we hear nothing for two months…and then I was told a few days ago by one of my YouTube subscribers that it was announced the Nails and Full Of Hell are releasing a 7″ split???Don’t get me wrong, I’m fucking stoked about this – that’s going to be some nasty fucking shit!  But dude, what the fuck?  I wrote about how confused I am on facebook because we had no idea if the band were back or what and when I reposted it on my new Instagram account I received this funny little response from Closed Casket Activities, the label releasing the spilt:

funny

Funny guys.  Then I saw this today on Metal Injection:

NAILS To Play THE POWER OF THE RIFF Festival In December

If one thing’s for sure, they’re right about one thing: You Will Never Know What’s Going On.

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The Case For Abbreviated Training

The following is my first ever article for Bodybuilding.com, written today.  It was approved by the moderators not too long ago, hopefully it’s good enough to be published.  But you can read it here and judge for yourself:

I was first introduced to the idea of abbreviated training in 2009, when a trainer at my former gym told me about a book entitled Brawn. Originally released in 1991, it’s author, Stuart McRobert wrote in extensive detail about the important of shorter training in comparison to the routines found in magazines during the time of the book’s release. McRobert stressed that the average Joe couldn’t possibly get big or strong on a pro bodybuilder’s routine, but they could totally benefit by going back to the basics.

Let me clarify something first, the average Joe is not just a non-competitive bodybuilder. It’s someone like you and me, who works a day job five days out of the week and goes to home to multiple responsibilities. Some of you work more than one job, some of you have young children at home, and then there are other responsibilities that naturally hinder us from being able to just go to the gym and do multiple exercises in the course of four, five or even six days a week.

I can actually relate to this now more than ever as someone who recently competed in his first Powerlifting meet. I live in New Jersey but I work in Brooklyn, NY so it takes me a good hour an a half to get to and get home from work. Once I’m home I still have to prepare dinner, get ready for the next day, do things around the house, etc.

My current program, Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 for Powerlifting, calls for three or four day a week training; so what I decided to do was take the four day a week template and alternate it into a three day per week schedule in order to fit my daily needs as well as give myself time to recover from the previous workouts. That was a very important first step for me. The next thing I did for sake of shortening my training was reducing the amount of exercises I needed to do per training day.

This can especially benefit powerlifters. Are we training for looks come competition time or are we training to improve on the big three moves, Bench Press, Squat and Deadlift? If you chose the latter then keep reading! There are plenty of great powerlifting routines out there but if you’re like me and your trying to save time are you really going to waste your time training your secondary muscles? Sure, having thick lats can be beneficial, but are they what you’re using when you Deadlift? Fat chance! You need the power of those hamstrings and your glutes to help you bring that bar up. Same thing applies for Bench Presses. Once again referring to the lats, do they help you push the bar off your chest to the ceiling or do you need a thick chest along with strong triceps and shoulders to help you do the work?

So what’s the point of all of this? Because I’m strapped for time ten months out of the year I need to train in a way that’s practical and in order to do that I stripped my training of anything I found was unnecessary in helping to improve my functionality in the main lifts. In doing this I shortened my training dramatically and I still get results. Here’s an example of the way I currently train using just my working sets:

Day 1:
Overhead Press – 3 x 5/3/1
Barbell Curl – 3 x 10
Tricep Dips – 3 x 10

Day 2:
Deadlift – 3 x 5/3/1
Leg Curls – 3 x 10

Day 3:
Bench Press – 3 x 5/3/1
Dumbbell Bench Press – 3 x 10
Chest Dips – 3 x 10

Day 4:
Squats – 3 x 5/3/1
Leg Press – 3 x 10

Upon reading this you might notice that I split the assistance leg work to two different days. I chose to do that purposely based on which assistance work helps with certain lifts. If I’m squatting then I’d rather just stick with Leg Presses to help me build muscle in my quads, just as I’d rather do Leg Curls on Deadlift days to strengthen my hamstrings. Therefore I have two strictly upper body days and two strictly lower body days, all even arranged as to save time and give me more bang for my buck.

But this is just how I train, for the most part. It might be different for all of you. All I did was take a preset template and removed what I felt was wasting time, because time is money, of which I usually have none. So here’s something to think about in the future if you happen to fall in this category, because it’s amazing to see that the saying “less is more” actually fits here. So if you’re strapped for time and still want to train, get rid of the excuses and make a plan of action today!

Mike is an amateur powerlifter hoping to enter his second competition in the near future.

You can also check out the original article here if you want:

http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=172409253

My Pilgrimage To Diamond Gym, July 29th, 2016

Yeah…I wrote Pilgrimage.  Why?  Because if you are a serious lifter of any kind, powerlifter, bodybuilder, whatever, and you happen to be anywhere in New Jersey, then it is your duty as the serious lifter you claim to be to go to Diamond Gym at least once.  For forty years now Diamond Gym has been one of THE most badass, hardcore gyms in the entire east coast.  When ex-bodybuilder John Kemper opened up the place it became the original “East Coast Mecca” long before Bev Francis opened up her first Gold’s Gym franchise.

I remember the first time I even heard of the place – and Adam from Black Metal Fitness, if you’re reading this, this is for you buddy! – it was on YouTube, where I discovered an old WWF interview with Mean Gene in this really badass looking dungeon gym, speaking with the owner’s wife, Shirley Kemper, about the types of people the gym attracted.  She then mentioned the British Bulldogs and next thing you knew there was the Dynamite Kid spotting Davey Boy Smith as he was benching four plates without a struggle.  Then Dynamite did the same…again, without a struggle.  Here’s the video, took me a while to find it:

It got me curious, real curious.  At the time I considered myself a gym historian of sorts, trying to learn all I could about the gyms of the past, such as R & J Health Studio in Brooklyn, NY, the breeding ground for Lou Ferrigno, and where my dad trained for fifteen years.  I also wanted to know if these gyms were still around and if so would the environment still be the same?  Well, when I found out Diamond Gym was still around I wanted to know more.  John Kemper retired and sold the gym in 2007, he sadly passed in 2012 at just 67 years old.  But apparently the gym’s current owner, Dwayne McDaniel had no problem keeping the gym’s hardcore vibe.  In fact, when you look at the place in videos it looks like nothing was touched.

So I finally made my way over there yesterday.  First off, god damn Maplewood, NJ is ghetto as fuck!  Secondly, it doesn’t even matter because once I entered the gym – which is right next to a gated community – it was all worth it.  Oh sure, a few walls might’ve had a fresh paintjob recently, and there are a hell of a lot more autographed  pictures on the walls of the bodybuilders that came from here.  But literally nothing else has changed, the equipment is exactly what I saw in that British Bulldogs promo from nineteen eighty-fucking-six, the barbell plates are so old that they probably haven’t even been in production in over thirty years, and the floors in the squat rack and leg press area are uneven.

IMG_20160729_151902577_HDR

See this?  It’s a Nautilus Multi Machine and there’s only one other gym I know that still has it because I used to train in that gym.  If you want to know more about this once fascinating “contraption” go on YouTube and just type in “Mike Mentzer Boyer Coe”.  Trust me here.

I’ll admit I was a little temped to leave if the idiot I heard through the speaker didn’t stop repeating “Ima keep it HOOD!” over and over again, but all in all the place was perfect!  Here’s my workout:

The shitty rap music in the place was so fucking loud that if I didn’t put a song over it I know I would’ve gotten at least five copyright claims because of the stupid algorithms on YouTube – I refuse to let DMX make money off my video.  Also, forget about conditioning.  I’m convinced that cardio isn’t in Diamond Gym’s vocabulary because I saw not one treadmill.  Now that is badass.  THAT is hardcore.

The gym just wreaks of all things tough as nails and I definitely will be back again.  If it wasn’t so far from me I’d leave my gym and sign up there yesterday.  Someone on yelp referred to it as “alpha and the omega” and he definitely hit the nail on the head there.  So to end this I’ll reiterate what said at the start of this.  If you call yourself a serious lifter and you live in Jersey, you need to go to Diamond Gym.

There are more pictures on my facebook page.  Just click here to get to them:

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Helix Nebula – The Last Lights Of A Dying Universe

For my second Underground Review I was approached by Prog Death band Helix Nebula of Riva Vaciamadrid, Spain about checking out there first full-length album, The Last Lights Of A Dying Universe.  They released a digital five track EP, The Beginning Of Time, back in 2013 and they recently played a show with Feel No Pain, whose four track demo I reviewed not too long ago.

I seriously think I’m going to edit my original post on looking for underground bands to mention that I really don’t want to be bothered if a band has an intro track.  Bands, it’s old, it’s been done a million times and all you’re doing is wasting valuable time that I can never get back.  Oh, and if your engineer or producer did it fire his dumb ass right away.  Time is money.  Just stop it!!!

Now to the music!  Upon hearing “God Is God?” I instantly think modern day Dream Theater, with the delay drenched alternate picking line.  And by the way no I’m not a fan of Dream Theater.  The band kicks in…Death Metal growling?  Ok, no problem, I am a Death Meal fan anyway.  Now it’s starting to sound like a cross between the band I mentioned and Opeth.  This song seems to go back a forth between the luscious clean parts that would make the knuckleheads in DT real proud, and Opeth during the heaviest moments on their landmark album, Blackwater Park.  Mike Vera is really good at doing a low rumble into a demonic scream.  I really don’t like how the song ends though, a little to anticlimactic, too soft, even with the quieter ending.

As the album progresses that sound remains very consistent, something lots of Progressive-bands have a major problem doing.  I think the only issue I’m starting to have now is that there are times where I feel that the growling isn’t necessary.  Sure, I did say I like it, but it just doesn’t fit everywhere, especially with the catchiness of some of the chorus’s I’m hearing.  I’m really liking some of the guitar solos, especially on “Night Angel”, where I think different vocal approaches could’ve definitely been used.  I definitely can envision screaming in the choruses to offset the growls during the versus, otherwise it just sounds stale.  One of the things I used to love about a band like Into Eternity is not only could Stu Block growl, he could scream even higher than fucking  Halford AND sing beautifully.

Paula Shultz’s guest vocals on “Dawn Of War” are absolutely breathtaking.  After that this becomes the fastest song on the album so far.  I’d honestly like for the band to do more of this in the future.  Nice guitar harmonies, reminds me of “Flash Of The Blade”, one of my favorite Iron Maiden tracks.  Although, like “God Is God?” it could’ve had a more badass ending.  I feel like it needed to have it.

An interlude?  Really guys?  Is this necessary??  No it’s not!  Another time killer that’s old and annoying.  I really think the last time I found interludes at least amusing was back in the mid-90’s, when I heard the intermission track on Tool’s classic AEnima (they’re totally dead to me after this album) and the intermission on The Offspring’s album Ixnay On The Hombre (yeah it’s punk but it’s album before they sold out COMPLETELY…and I was only thirteen at the time).  Point is, you bands need to knock it off with these fucking interludes – stop it!!!!

After a another minute was wasted “Son Of Antares” comes in with a great solid headbang tempo.  Around the three minute mark it cools off temporarily before the guitar solo.  I really think this was not necessary.  And this is usually my biggest problem with prog metal.  You all want to mix in all of these elements together in a single song and the problem is it doesn’t always make sense.

“Black Flames Of Chaos” had me throw up the horns right away.  Good job guys!  This is the most metal track on the entire album from start to finish.  But more important than that, it’s the most consistent from start to finish.

Uh oh, I think that clean guitar is a tad out of tune on the closing title track; not the best way to start out the beginning of the end.  On top of that, the segue into the heavier section feels very sloppy.  As someone who started out as drummer it was really hard to keep track of the beat there.  Thankfully, it shapes up more after that.  You’ll definitely be able to hear some really consistent thematic changes throughout this ten minute epic, all of which intertwine perfectly.  I would’ve loved the solos near the end to have a bit more attitude to them, not necessarily more notes, just more feel to them.  And once again the ending leaves way too much to be desired.

All in all this is a decent debut album from Helix Nebula.  I mentioned this in my review of Feel No Pain’s demo, but whether you’re making a debut album or demo, you really want to find a way to make it stand out and grab the listener by the fucking throat right at the start of track one – not track two after a pointless intro – track ONE.  They are all fantastic musicians but I totally recommend they focus much more on at least streamlining their songs.

Favorite Tracks: Night Angel, Dawn Of War, Black Flames Of Chaos

You can check out Helix Nebula on their bandcamp site by clicking here:

https://helixnebula.bandcamp.com/

 

New Videos And More News

So I’ve been pretty busy with recording songs and videos in the last week or so.  I’ve really been inspired in the music department, having uploaded two new songs in the last few days.  Here’s the one I just uploaded today:

Upon listening to it with the drums I mapped out as well as the distorted bass I put there, I find it to be a cross between early Bathory, speedwise, and a more modern Grindcore song around the breakdown section.  I just know my Ibanez Destroyer’s been taking a beating lately with all the things I’m doing.  Speaking of guitars I’ll most likely start recording covers sometime next week.

On the powerlifting front I just began the second cycle of my new 5/3/1 conditioning template.  Only now I’m training four times a week instead of three since I’m currently off from work for the summer – giving me plenty of time to get out all the extra anger my jackass students gave me this year!  I’m serious when I say they need to bring back corporal punishment because today’s kids are way too fucking grown for their own good.  Fuck the kids.  Anyway, here’s my latest Deadlift video.  The whole workout can be found in the description box of the video:

I figured out a great way to use my phone to film myself Deadlift and Overhead Pressing without using anyone’s help.  I just need to find a way to do it for Benching and Squatting.  Also, I’m not too far away from Diamond Gym in Maplewood, NJ, and I’d like to also make my way over there next week to get a workout in.  That place is just so fucking hardcore that I HAVE to go there.

More News

A quick reminder that I’ll be at Anaka’s show at the Black Bear Bar in Brooklyn this Saturday.  I’ll be making a video or two, as well as writing about it here so keep your eyes posted.  Also, I was approached by Helix Nebula, a band from just outside of Madrid, Spain, about reviewing their new album and I agreed to do it so I should be doing that in the next week as well.  Helix Nebula recently played a show with Feel No Pain, another band from Madrid, who’s demo I just reviewed; so I’m assumed that’s how they found me.

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